It was the year of the reality check, when Americans and their own government began to realize just what they faced in Vietnam — a resourceful and tenacious enemy, quarrelsome allies and an Asian society whose complexity they could barely understand.
Lt. Tony Nadal survived three days and three nights of vicious fighting at Landing Zone X-Ray, the first major battle of the Vietnam War. When it was over, 79 American soldiers, including some of Nadal’s closest friends, were dead.
Joe Scholle flew hundreds of sorties in Vietnam as a UH-34D helicopter pilot ferrying troops, logistics and medevac patients from base to base and in and out of “hot LZs” – landing zones under fire.
Lined row upon row, the names etched on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s polished black granite slabs are a somber reminder that more than 58,000 U.S. troops died — or were listed as missing-in-action — as a result of their involvement in the Vietnam War.
Vietnam helicopter pilot Charles “Chuck” Kettles saved dozens of soldiers’ lives during a daring rescue mission in 1967, setting an example of selflessness for the country as it now struggles with divisions and violence, President Barack Obama said Monday.
Charles Kettles knew the eight troops climbing aboard his helicopter would overload it, potentially grounding them amid North Vietnamese machine gun and mortar fire.